D.C. Forum Developing New U.S. Agenda for Fire Prevention

A forum of more than 150 fire safety professionals and leaders of emergency medical services, burn units, fire publications, and federal and state fire organizations are meeting at the Hilton Washington hotel in the nation's capital today and tomorrow to develop a new national agenda for fire prevention and reducing the loss of life, injuries, and damage resulting from fires in the United States. A big challenge is before this group, which includes U.S. Fire Administrator Gregory Cade, numerous NFPA officials, and the heads of several fire sprinkler associations: Develop a plan for transforming the mindset of the U.S. public and also the fire service when it comes to fire safety.

Cade and his agency, the U.S. Fire Administration (a DHS unit), announced last Friday their support of residential fire sprinklers in all new U.S. homes. Cade said this step is needed to curb the high number of deaths, about 2,100 per year, attributed to home fires.

Reforming the way fire data are collected and shared is one problem that has been identified. The cultural shift suggested for the fire service involves focusing its personnel on fire prevention as well as suppression, which is the service's main focus today. A U.S. Department of Homeland Security Fire Prevention and Safety Grant awarded to the Institution of Fire Engineers U.S. Branch made this effort possible; the branch presented a webinar Feb. 13 to discuss the issues and form the agenda for this meeting.

The agenda, a list of forum participants, the webinar, and a wealth of additional information are available at www.strategicfire.org. The IFE is located in Alexandria, Va.

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